Augmented Reality and QR Codes for Teaching Music to
Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: Educational Intervention and
Garyfallia Preka
and Maria Rangoussi
MSc “ICT for Education”, Dept. of Early Childhood Education, University of Athens, 13A, Navarinou str., Athens, Greece
Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, University of West Attica, 250, Thivon str., Athens-Egaleo, Greece
Keywords: Augmented Reality, Quick Response Codes, Music Curriculum, Preschool/Pre-K Education, Kindergarten,
Educational Intervention, Game-based Learning, Smart/Mobile Devices, Evaluation, Learning Outcomes.
Abstract: This research focuses on the use of Quick Response (QR) codes, as a part of the Augmented Reality (AR)
technology, in an educational intervention for early childhood education in Music. The educational methods
employed are game-based and collaborative learning within a framework that uses Information and
Communication Technologies (ICT) and mobile devices in indoors and outdoors activities. A modified form
of the ‘treasure hunt’ game is the canvas of the intervention carried out; the learning contents implicitly
taught through the game are elements of the curriculum for Music in Kindergarten. Research questions
address the learning outcomes achieved as well as the development of pupils’ collaborative skills through
the implemented learning method and ICT tools, given the pupils’ age and their as yet limited
reading/writing skills. Evaluation results indicate that the AR-QR technology is a powerful tool that triggers
and sustains children’s interest during the learning process and can enhance their cognitive skills, their
collaborative skills and their social interaction. Verification of the persistence of these results over time
would require a longitudinal study on the same pupils; the findings of this case study, however, indicate the
strong potential of AR-QR tools for the cognitive and socio-emotional development of children.
Scientific and technological progress in the field of
Information and Communication Technologies
(ICT) permeates all aspects of human life, education
being no exception. As ICT-related concepts,
behaviours and tools are becoming de facto
dominant in all the younger ages, down to early
childhood, a series of issues are raised and
investigated by scientists of various fields, including
developmental psychology, medicine, pedagogy and
education (see e.g. (Bolstad, 2004) and references
therein). Today research findings concede that
introduction of ICT and related tools in teaching
methodology and daily school practice may be
beneficial for the young learners down to preschool
or Kindergarten age, conditioned upon the adoption
of an appropriate framework that sets both the
theoretic backbone and the methodology to design
and implement teaching and learning, (see, e.g.,
Kalas, 2010; Mishra and Joseph, 2012).
Proponents of the introduction of ICT tools such
as mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) in early
childhood education point out that preschoolers are
already making extensive use of such devices at
home, for entertainment or communication; their
adoption in school, therefore, (a) would make school
and learning more attractive while (b) would let
them experience a more qualitative use of these
devices (Zaranis et al., 2013) – a use other than
gaming, if nothing else. The essential question of
whether ICT tools and methods are advantageous for
the cognitive, emotional and social development at
such early ages remains open to research up to now.
Along these lines, the present research is an
experimental study on (a) the feasibility and (b) the
efficiency of the use of ICT tools, namely mobile
devices and Augmented Reality (AR) applications in
the form of Quick Response (QR) codes, in the
preschool and Kindergarten ages. Efficiency is
measured along two axes, the enhancement of
learning outcomes attained and the development of
social interaction and collaborative skills. For the
Preka, G. and Rangoussi, M.
Augmented Reality and QR Codes for Teaching Music to Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: Educational Intervention and Evaluation.
DOI: 10.5220/0007682301130123
In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2019), pages 113-123
ISBN: 978-989-758-367-4
2019 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
purpose of this study, an educational intervention is
designed, developed and implemented in a mixed
preschool-Kindergarten class of 20 pupils; it is
staged as a ‘treasure hunt’ game for teams, while the
subject selected as the learning content is music
(rhythm, pitch, the structure of songs, the meaning
of lyrics, body synchronization to music,
acquaintance to musical instruments).
Is it feasible and realistic to use ICT in class at
the preschool and Kindergarten ages, in the
form of mobile devices and AR (QR codes)?
Can the teacher exploit it to achieve increased
learning outcomes?
Can the teacher exploit it to strengthen social
interaction and cultivate collaboration skills in
the class?
These are the main research questions seeking
answers through the implementation and evaluation
of the intervention. In good agreement to existing
studies, evaluation results give positive answers to
all three questions, indicating a strong potential of
the use of ICT (mobile devices and QR code
applications) in class, as to both the cognitive and
the social development of young pupils.
The experimental and applied nature of this study is
expressed through the educational intervention
designed and implemented in alignment to the
research questions posed. The intervention adopts
certain learning methods and tools, namely,
collaborative and game-based learning, digital
games and mobile devices and the AR technology
(QR codes, in specific), in order to teach elements of
the curriculum of Music in Preschool/Kindergarten.
2.1 Collaborative and Game-based
In Collaborative Learning (CL), a group or team of
learners join their efforts and contribute their skills
to achieve a common educational goal, set by the
instructor or teacher. Different definitions emphasize
different aspects of CL; they all stress the
importance of a common goal, though (e.g., Johnson
et al., 1998). CL refers to joining efforts at a level
‘deeper’ or more essential than in cooperative
learning, where members work independently and
merge results. In modern times, CL has emerged
from the socio-cultural theories on learning put forth
by Lev Vygotsky and his students. The concepts of
the zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978)
and of ‘scaffolding’ young learners, (Wood et al.,
1976), along with those of hands-on, experiential
education and active, inquiry- or problem- based
learning, proposed by the New School movement in
the USA (Dewey, 1991), have pushed forward
modern educational methodology and practice.
Social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978) that extends
classic Piagetian constructivism (Phillips, 1969) to
encompass the social framework and to emphasize
its role in all learning, constitutes the theoretic
background for innovative educational and
pedagogical methods – and for game-based learning
among them.
2.2 Digital Games and Education
The role of games and game playing in the
emotional, social and cognitive development during
(early) childhood could not be overemphasized. As
to the cognitive domain, the educational potential of
games has been recognised since antiquity. ‘Anyone
who makes a distinction between games and
education clearly does not know the first thing about
either one,’ is Marshall McLuhan’s famous relevant
quote. The typical European curriculum for
Kindergarten considers games as its nucleus.
In the digital era, digital games have taken the
lead over traditional games, as expected. They have
so far earned a negative reputation as causes of
youth violence, addiction to playing, anti-social
behaviour, isolation and low performance at school.
Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) is the term
proposed by Marc Prensky (2001) to describe ‘any
marriage of educational content and computer
games’. The potential of DGBL is being extensively
researched both theoretically and experimentally,
under various methodological and technological
frameworks, (e.g., Joyce et al., 2009). Among the
many obvious features of games, such as fun,
pleasure, emotion, adrenaline, motivation, flow and
ego gratification, Prensky lists also problem-solving
skills, creativity, social interaction and the
development of collaborative skills. These later
aspects that connect DGBL and CL are exploited in
the present research to ‘build’ the educational
intervention around a digital game.
2.3 Mobile Learning and Devices
Mobile learning is a form of E-learning where
learners use portable devices such as tablets or smart
phones and wireless communication links to connect
CSEDU 2019 - 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
to servers, access learning material and/or take part
in educational activities. The availability of quality
portable devices, in terms of audio, video and
connectivity, of broadband wireless networks and of
well-structured educational scenarios is critical to
the success of mobile learning, according to the
relevant UNESCO guidelines, (2013).
The popularity and wide use of portable devices
across all ages and population groups (Johnson et
al., 2013) make them an ideal tool to motivate and
engage learners of all ages, (Bradley and Holley,
2011). Portability, interactivity and social
networking are features of mobile devices valued in
educational contexts, (Zhang, 2015). Freedom of the
learner from space and time constraints is another
advantage, (Giezma et al., 2013). The learner, the
device and the social aspect should all be considered
while evaluating mobile learning, (Koole, 2009).
Mobile learning has been criticized mainly due to
the technical limitations of current mobile devices
and relevant software (small screens, overloaded
functions, inadequate H/W for quality S/W, etc.).
Existing research shows that in developed
countries preschoolers are familiarized to mobile
devices: at the age of four, they use this technology
to play digital games, watch videos, listen to music,
take pictures or communicate with relatives and
friends, (Plowman and Stephen, 2003; Zaranis et al.,
2013). While pediatrics warn parents and teachers
against extensive use of digital devices at preschool
ages, (e.g., Radensky et al., 2015), a series of studies
report positive results on the influence of mobile
devices in learning for preschoolers, (see Zaranis et
al., 2013, and references therein). Prensky has
anticipated such results and has early attributed them
to the preschoolers ‘nativity’ in ICT. Well-structured
activities designed and implemented by informed
and trained instructors are considered as prerequisite
for successful mobile learning in early childhood.
2.4 AR-QR Technologies in Education
Augmented Reality (AR) cumulatively describes
applications that combine or enhance real world with
digital objects or information, typically of
audiovisual form, thanks to the mediation of
advanced technology (Johnson et al., 2013). Any AR
technology should (a) combine real-world and
virtual content, (b) offer real-time interaction, and
(c) register to the 3-D space, (Azuma, 1997). As AR
technology becomes more affordable and more
widely available, its educational uses are increasing.
Recent studies on the use of AR in various learning
setups reveal positive outcomes in the cognitive
domain (language use, spatial registration), in
personalized learning in motivation and engagement
of learners – at the cost of a certain discomfort still
caused by equipment (Bacca et al., 2014; Chen et al.,
2016). Interestingly, almost 90% of the use of AR in
schools is through mobile devices, leaving 7% to
computer screens and 3% to special H/W.
QR codes are an extension of (and an
improvement over) standard barcodes. They
emerged in Japanese automotive industry around
1990 and have found widespread use thereafter,
thanks to (a) the use of mobile devices, and (b) the
freely available software for QR code applications
development. QR codes are today the most popular
AR technology in educational setups where they
support open, innovative, active and inquiry-based
scenarios (Rouillard, 2008; De Pietro and Frontera,
2012) with positive influence both on motivation
and learning, for grades down to Kindergarten (Law
and So, 2010). Kohler and Mishra (2009) warn
against the mere ‘additive’ use of QR codes in class
instead of their use in designed, authentic learning
2.5 Music Education in Kindergarten
Music is probably as old as the mankind itself and
an essential part of every known civilization, as a
means for self-expression, creation, communication,
entertainment, or even healing and therapy.
Exposure to music in early childhood is critical to
the person’s relation with music in adulthood
(Gordon, 1980) and musical intelligence is the
earliest one to develop (Gardner, 2011): Kodály’s
music education system starts as early as in
pregnancy, (DeVries, 2001). Bach and Mozart are
famous examples of what early exposure to music,
instruction in music and natural talent may produce.
Music education is acknowledged today as
instrumental to the development of cognitive,
language, motor, emotional and social skills in
children. The major 20
century music/music-
kinetic education systems developed by E.J.
Dalcroze (Eurhythmics), C. Orff (Schulwerk) and Z.
Kodály in Europe and S. Suzuki in Japan have
revolutionized music education. They are the basis
of practically every curriculum for modern music
education – the greek curriculum for Kindergarten
being no exception. Basic music skills sought are
listening, playing/singing and composing.
In particular, teachers are guided towards
launching activities that involve rhythm, melody,
songs, oral musical games, combined music-
kinetics, spontaneous creation or self-expression
Augmented Reality and QR Codes for Teaching Music to Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: Educational Intervention and Evaluation
through music and interaction with musical
instruments. Young pupils are thus trained to
distinguish the various qualities of sound and music
and acquire basic skills on listening, understanding,
reproducing, interpreting and synthesizing music.
The educational intervention designed for the
purposes of this research aspires to propose an
integral scenario on instruction in music for the
Kindergarten, which involves mobile devices and
QR codes in a ‘treasure hunt’ game activity aimed at
teaching (music) without compromising fun or
creativity. The contents are drawn from the high
quality, cult greek radio musical program for kids
Edo Lilipoupoli’ (1976-80), by the famous
composer Manos Hadjidakis and a team of talented
young artists.
The educational intervention is in fact a qualitative
action research that took place in a public
Kindergarten in Nea Ionia, Athens, Greece, for two
weeks in May 2018. It has proceeded in phases:
preparatory activities, design, implementation,
evaluation. A class of twenty (20) pupils consisting
of 17 Kindergarteners and 3 pre-schoolers was
involved; they formed five (5) teams of four (4) kids
each, while the ‘sixth’ team consisted of all 20 kids.
3.1 Preparatory Activities
In order to assess pupils’ existing knowledge and
skills on (a) elements of music, (b) collaboration and
(c) the use of QR codes and mobile devices, the
class teacher (first author) has organized a number
of preparatory educational activities in the class
prior to the intervention, followed by a set of pre-test
questions in each one.
Music: pupils were asked to listen repeatedly
to songs and led by pertinent questions
between repetitions to focus on the lyrics – a
skill they clearly did not have, as they were all
focusing on the score. They were also asked to
listen to sounds made by musical instruments
and try to identify the instrument – a tough
task for most of them.
Collaboration: pupils were asked to assemble
jigsaw puzzles in teams of four and later in
teams of two, in a class-level competition with
winners. Gaming activities of shorter duration
and discussion on participation followed.
Existing knowledge on QR codes and mobile
devices and pupils’ skills in using them were
assessed by interviewing pupils.
Results have been used as a guide by the teacher in
designing the intervention and in adjusting the level
of difficulty in each activity therein.
3.2 Design and Development
A game of ‘treasure hunt’ played by teams rather
than individuals is the canvas of the intervention.
Pupils are prompted to move in or out of the
classroom, solve riddles, answer questions, take tests
on music and thus win a prize (a piece of a jigsaw
puzzle). When all teams put their prizes (pieces)
together, an image of the music land ‘Lilipoupoli’ is
assembled; pupils modify it to serve as the board for
a ‘snakes-and-ladders’ game played by the whole
Riddles and tests are developed on a digital
platform (Google Classroom) and accessed through
the QR codes ‘hidden’ in or out of the class; pupils
are led to spot them, scan them using the tablet and
get redirected to the platform. To complete the tests
assigned to their team, members have to collaborate
and develop strategies for problem solving.
Six (6) music elements are the learning ‘targets’,
one for each of the five (5) teams and the sixth one
common to all teams:
1. Rhythm in music (fast / slow);
2. Voice pitch (high / deep);
3. Get the meaning of lyrics;
4. Song structure (‘couplet’ / ‘refrain’);
5. Musical instruments: classes and properties;
6. Bodily expression of music (all class dances
in rhythm).
Each team in turn is asked to (a) use the tablet to
scan a QR code, (b) listen to a recorded message
with the rules of the game and a riddle they have to
solve to spot the next QR code, in or out of the
classroom, (c) scan the next QR code and get
redirected to the activity and test on the platform, (d)
collaborate to complete the activity, (e) use the tablet
to upload answers (text, music or video) to the
platform, and (f) receive the prize (puzzle piece).
Before the intervention, all six (6) music
activities were developed in Google Classroom by
the teacher. Free software was used to design the QR
codes and link each of them to the relevant platform
activity. The ‘Lilipoupoli’ music land jigsaw puzzle
pieces were also designed and crafted (Figure 1).
CSEDU 2019 - 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
Figure 1: The puzzles pieces (prizes) and the assembled
puzzle as a ‘snakes-and-ladders’ board game.
3.3 Implementation
On the first day of the intervention, when pupils
came to school, they noticed a small trunk-like case
left on a chair in the classroom. When they opened
it, they found a message from an unknown character,
‘Q’, who invited them to a game and explained the
rules. They also discovered a tablet, a photo camera
and a set of questions they had to answer (the pre-
test questions, in fact). They all agreed to play and to
follow the rules and got organized in 5 teams of 4.
In the following days, at a certain time within the
day plan, each team in turn would play the game
while the other teams would watch and offer help,
comments and encouragement.
Day #1: The 1
team played while the other
teams were watching and offering encouraging
comments and support. They started by assigning
roles; they scanned the 1
QR code, listened to the
riddle that sent them to the schoolyard to spot and
scan the 2
QR code. This one led them to access
the platform and listen to their task that had to do
with focusing on the song lyrics. ‘Q’ asked them to
listen carefully to two songs of the ‘Lilipoupoli’
record and answer questions on their meaning. After
some thought, discussion and help to each other, the
pupils used the tablet to type in their answers and
received their prize later on, (Figures 2 and 3).
Figure 2: The first team in action: discussion on role
assignment (left); 1
QR code scanning (right).
When activities of day #1 were over, the teacher
would put down in the class log the observation data
to be used for subsequent evaluation: details on the
pupils’ activities, collaboration practices, strategies
developed to overcome difficulties and pupils’
response to the use of ICT (QR codes, mobile
devices). All of day #1 phases were repeated in days
#2 to #5 – the tasks varied so as to cover the six (6)
music elements listed in subsection 3.1.
Figure 3: The first team in action: 2
QR code scanning
(left); their prize (puzzle piece) on the class board (right).
Day #2: The task of the 2
team was to
understand the notion of high-pitched versus low-
pitched voice. They had to recognize each type of
voice in a song that contained both. ‘Q’ then asked
them to sing a song using both voices, record it and
use the tablet to upload it to the platform.
Day #3: The task of the 3
team was to
recognize fast versus slow rhythm in a score or song.
They had to listen to two songs and tag each as slow
or fast. ‘Q’ then asked them to select a fast and a
slow song sample and use the tablet to upload it.
Day #4: The task of the 4
team had to do with
the structure of a song (couplet and refrain). They
were asked by ‘Q’ to listen to a song, spot the
missing refrain, sing it in due time and upload the
recording in the platform (Figure 4).
Figure 4: The 4
team in action: discussion on role
assignment (left); 1
QR code scanning (right).
Day #5: The task of the 5
team was to get to
know the musical instruments and their classes.
They were asked listen to a song and recognize in it
as many musical instruments as possible. They were
then asked by ‘Q’ to type in three instruments, of a
different class each. They were thus trained to
clustering and classification (Figure 5).
Augmented Reality and QR Codes for Teaching Music to Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: Educational Intervention and Evaluation
Figure 5: The 5
team in action: clustering of musical
instruments (left); typing in answers to platform (right).
Day #6: The activities of this last day involved
all 5 teams; each team through a representative took
part in QR code scanning and listening to their task.
They had to develop and practice a choreography on
a familiar song, to be performed for parents and
friends during the school festival before summer
holidays. They all experimented and proposed
various styles and movements; they then discussed
and finalized it. They rehearsed the whole part and
uploaded for ‘Q’ a video with parts of the rehearsal.
The 6
prize (last puzzle piece) was thus won and
delivered the next morning in class (Figure 6 – left).
The next day: This was planned as a day to
enjoy their ‘trophies’: they assembled the jigsaw
puzzle out of the prize pieces, completed it with
numbered paths and stops and used it as the board to
play ‘snakes-and-ladders’ on, (Figure 6 - right).
Figure 6: QR code discovery in day #6 (left); the ‘snakes-
and-ladders’ game on the assembled puzzle board (right).
Follow-up: The new experiences that pupils
acquired through the educational game motivated
them and aroused their enthusiasm on QR codes.
Throughout the intervention and up to the end of the
school term, pupils would seek and discover QR
codes outside the school environment, e.g. at home,
and would bring them in class. They would show
them to classmates and would scan them, curious to
find out where they would be redirected, (Figure 7).
They thus came to understand gradually that the
scope of this technology is broader than education; it
encompasses commerce, entertainment, news, etc.
Parents were inevitably involved on the kids ‘quests’
for QR codes at home. When questioned by the
teacher, parents expressed both their interest in the
activities and their satisfaction on the engagement
and enthusiasm their kids showed for the daily
school activities.
Figure 7: QR codes discovered at home on various objects
and brought to school by the pupils (follow up activity).
Post-intervention activities of the pupils at school
did verify their positive attitude towards the game
and the QR codes technology. They freely decided
to prepare drawings as farewell gifts to thank ‘Q’ for
the game; they even tried to write the name ‘Q’ on
these drawings, in Greek and in English (Figure 8).
They brought presents for ‘Q’ and placed them in
the empty trunk. Eventually, motivated by an
initiative of two kids, they decided to design and
develop their own similar game. They brought a new
trunk in class, got self-organized in teams,
constructed tests on music and music-related
activities and even set up prizes. In the following
days they enacted the game as a theatre play – a
quite interesting, unexpected development.
Figure 8: Pupils’ drawings as farewell presents for ‘Q’.
Attempts to write the name of ‘Q’ in Greek and in English.
3.4 Evaluation
The research tools employed for evaluation of the
game and the intervention are
Pre-test, delivered as a structured interview of
each pupils with the class teacher;
Observation of the pupils while playing;
CSEDU 2019 - 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
Observation sheets kept by the class teacher
upon completion of the activities of each day
of the intervention;
Digital recordings (videos) of all days;
Post-test, delivered as a structured interview
of each pupil with the class teacher.
Pre-test was aimed at assessing (a) existing
knowledge on elements of music, (b) existing
collaboration skills, and (c) existing knowledge on
QR codes and mobile devices and pupils’ skills in
using them.
Post-test was aimed at assessing the same three
dimensions as in pre-test, in order to measure the
change brought up by the intervention.
A practical limitation is that the evaluation load
was carried by the class teacher alone, because it has
not been possible for the school to assign an
assistant or colleague who would aid in the
intervention and would help the teacher in the
evaluation activities. In light of this situation, the
video recordings have been indispensable, valuable
aids for observation of pupils’ actions, interaction,
verbal and non-verbal exchange. Detailed evaluation
results are given in the next section.
4.1 Pre-test (Interview) Findings
The purpose of the pre-test was two-fold: to assess
the familiarization of pupils with mobile devices and
QR codes, and to measure existing knowledge on
basic music elements to be taught through the
intervention and game.
All pupils use mobile devices regularly at home
(smart phones: 13 kids (65%); tablets: 6 kids (35%);
both: 1 kid (5%)); popular uses are playing digital
games (70%), watching video/animation (45%),
listening to music (45%) and viewing photos (20%).
Knowledge on QR codes was clearly zero – which
explains the enthusiasm and exploratory attitude the
game aroused in them.
Their existing knowledge on music was varied:
only 4 kids (20%) could differentiate fast versus
slow rhythm and name known songs as examples;
no one (0%) could do so for high (high-pitched)
versus deep (low-pitched) voice; 18 kids (90%)
confused voice type (high/deep) with voice level
(loud/low or soft); no one (0%) knew the meaning of
the ‘refrain’ (chorus) in a song. In the questions on
musical instruments, 5 kids (25%) could name 3 or 4
instruments; the rest 15 kids (75%) could name 0 to
2 instruments – typically, the piano and the guitar.
The overall pre-test conclusion is that, although
pupils were obviously enthusiastic and eager to
answer right, they had very limited knowledge on
the subject to be taught through the intervention.
4.2 Findings from Intervention Videos
All intervention sessions have been recorded on video
for subsequent analysis. The use of digital media was
a necessary aid for the class teacher (first author) who
could not carry out the intervention and keep
observation sheets in parallel. The analysis of the
videos aims to document (a) the collaboration among
team members, (b) their interaction and handling of
adversities, (c) their progressive familiarization with
the use of the tablet to scan the QR codes.
It is clear that discussions during role assignment
within a team were mostly on the use of the (unique)
tablet: all members wanted to hold and use it to scan
QR codes. They showed more anxiety and
restlessness in that than in achieving goals or
answering questions.
Despite the long waiting for their turn to play, all
teams and all members remained interested, focused
and engaged in the process throughout the
intervention, either while playing or while watching
other teams play. In the rare cases of a technical
problem (e.g., a QR code shot out of focus) they
were all willing to help get a clear second shot.
The level and quality of team and class
collaboration become evident through the videos.
Dialogues or silences, the exchange of encouraging
or urging comments, the offering of help and
directions, or the uttering of mere comments and
observations established a close and rather smooth
collaboration. All teams, formed ad hoc, seemed to
understand and respect the need for fair sharing of
resources and for smooth collaboration as terms or
prerequisites both for success and for having fun. No
one would take distance from the centre of action
and, on the other hand, no attempt to exclude any
member was detected. They expressed their will to
collaborate bodily, as they kept their bodies turned
towards the centre of the team during game play.
Upon completion of their part, each of the teams
would hold a discussion on the process, recall the
role of each member and comment on the level of
collaboration. The other teams would attend these
‘debriefings’ with utter interest; they got ideas that
they put to practice when their turn came to play. In
that sense, the level of collaboration was increasing
during the game. The ultimate verification of
Augmented Reality and QR Codes for Teaching Music to Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: Educational Intervention and Evaluation
successful collaboration has been the completion of
all missions by all teams with no dropouts.
4.3 Post-test (Interview) Findings
The post-test was held in the form of a structured
interview aimed at assessing the results of the
intervention on (a) the cognitive domain (learning
outcomes), (b) the social domain (interaction,
collaborative skills) and (c) the emotional domain
(experience with AR-QR codes technology and fun
during game play).
4.3.1 Cognitive Domain
Four (4) questions in the interview refer to music:
1. Can you explain what is fast/slow rhythm in a
song? Can you give an example for each?
2. Can you explain what is high/deep voice?
3. Can you think of a percussion/wind/string
musical instrument?
4. Can you explain what is ‘refrain’ in a song?
Answers are tagged by the teacher-interviewer as
‘right’ or ‘wrong’ depending on the correct or
incorrect examples given by each pupil:
The question on rhythm received a 100%
score of right answers: all 20 kids could sing a
fast and a slow song.
The question on voice pitch received right
answers by 17 kids (85%); 3 kids (15%) still
could not distinguish high/deep pitch.
The question on the classes of instruments
received right answers by 19 kids (95%); 1 kid
(5%) could not give three correct examples.
The question on the ‘refrain’ was an open one:
each kid attempted a definition. 18 kids (90%)
gave right answers along the line ‘refrain is
the part heard many times in a song’; 2 kids
(10%) still could not define the term.
4.3.2 Social Domain
Three (3) questions in the interview refer to
collaboration and social interaction:
1. Have all members of your team taken part in the
2. Was it easy for you to collaborate with others?
3. Can you recall what your role was in the game?
Answers are judged as positive/negative by the
The 1
question received positive answers by
19 kids (95%).
The 2
question received positive answers by
18 kids (90%), who stated that collaboration
was easy, role assignment ran smoothly and
that they had been glad to help others, in or
out of their team.
The 3
question received positive answers by
18 kids (90%), who recalled accurately their
role in the team; 2 kids (10%) could not state
their role clearly.
4.3.3 Emotional Domain
Five (5) questions in the interview refer to pupils’
experience with the QR technology and the game:
1. How did you like the game (Not at all/A little/A
lot/Very much)?
2. What did you liked the most about it?
3. Was there any point of difficulty?
4. Would it be easy for you to play with QR codes
5. Do you want to play a game with QR codes
Answers are grouped by the teacher:
As to the 1
question, 17 kids (85%) liked the
game ‘very much’; the rest 3 kids (15%) liked
it ‘a lot’.
As to the 2
question, 9 kids (45%) referred to
game elements (puzzles, prizes, musical tests,
etc.); 6 kids (30%) referred to the use of the
tablet; 3 kids (15%) referred to playing in
teams and 2 kids (10%) referred to music and
the songs they sang.
The 3
question received negative answers
(no difficult points) by 17 kids (85%); 3 kids
(15%) found the musical tests tough.
As to the 4
question, 17 kids (85%) consider
it easy to use QR codes again; 3 kids (15%)
consider it difficult.
All 20 kids (100%) want to play games with
QR codes again.
The final, open-type question “What would you
like to say to Q?” was posed to investigate the
pupils’ overall experience during the intervention.
The response was enthusiastic: ‘Thanks for the
game, Q!’, ‘That was a perfect game!’, ‘Q, send us
another game, please!’ are sample answers. The
drawings the pupils have prepared as farewell to ‘Q’,
shown in Figure 8, reveal warm, positive feelings in
verification of their answers to the 5
4.4 Comments on Findings
The progress achieved in the cognitive domain
becomes clear when pre- and post-test findings are
viewed comparatively (see Table 1). In the case of
musical instruments, e.g., the vague ideas and
CSEDU 2019 - 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
limited knowledge pupils had before the intervention
have become much more clear, accurate and detailed
afterwards; new knowledge on classes of
instruments has been successfully constructed. The
pupils’ answers to the questions on music show that
through the game they did construct new knowledge
on the targeted elements of music. What is most
important is that, while they did so, most of them
thought they were just playing a game with a tablet
(see answers to Question 2 in the Emotional Domain
questions). The educational aspect of the
intervention passed unnoticed – a highly desirable
situation in all educational games.
Table 1: Progress achieved in the cognitive domain.
Question Pre-test Post-test
Music rhythm (fast / slow) 4 (20%) 20 (100%)
Voice pitch (high / deep) 0 (0%) 17 (85%)
Meaning of ‘refrain’ 0 (0%) 18 (90%)
3 Musical instruments/classes 5 (25%) 19 (95%)
It is interesting that pupils valued teamwork,
interaction and collaboration as a positive
experience: ‘it is fair that everyone can play and that
we all help each other’, as they have put it. The
strongly positive answers they gave to the social
domain questions may be a result of the general
enthusiasm caused by the game – even so, it is
important that they made such statements.
The videos showed that the game was ‘pitched’
at the right level of difficulty for the pupils to
challenge them, gain their interest and yet be
enjoyable. The technical aspects have been difficult
just enough to make pupils try harder, remain
engaged and get satisfaction from success. It is
notable that in the post-test the majority would recall
in detail the activities and personal roles and were
willing to share their experience with the teacher.
4.5 Discussion
Analysis of the video recordings of the intervention
along with the findings of the interviews reveals that
the intervention has had a detectable positive
influence on all three domains investigated
(cognitive, social, emotional).
The successful completion of all missions of the
game by all teams indicates that the use of AR
technology and the handling of mobile devices are
feasible and realistic for pupils of the Kindergarten
and preschool ages. The user-friendly interface and
straightforward functionality of the QR codes are
well suited especially to these target groups (a) who
have not yet fully mastered reading and writing and
(b) who currently hold the role of users and are
therefore expected to benefit from the use of AR
technology as a tool towards an educational end and
not as a subject to study and master, on its own right.
Usability of QR codes accounts for the active
participation of all pupils and for the ‘transparent’
use of this technology in learning while playing. A
tacit advantage is that pupils have experienced an
alternative use of mobile devices at school to their
standard ‘gaming gadget’ use at home or at leisure.
It is interesting that, despite the availability of a
single tablet and the utter individuality and single-
user nature of these devices that are conceived and
implemented as ‘personal assistants’ rather than
collaboration tools, the collaborative educational
framework within which the tablet has been
employed has dominated and has imposed a social
interaction ‘around the computer’ and ‘through the
computer’ character to the intervention.
The suitability of QR codes for applications in
any subject has facilitated their use in the present
intervention. Post-test questions on music register a
positive ‘delta’ in all taught elements of music. This
should not be attributed to QR technology alone,
though: the use of technology has been in fact
blended with standard Kindergarten practices and
formulated as a game; moreover, the very music and
music-kinetic content selected is known to be a
favorite subject at these ages. Due to practical
limitations of this study, however, it has not been
possible to methodologically disentangle these
factors and study their effects independently.
As to the positive outcomes in the social domain,
apart from the very design of the intervention and
the game as a collaborative activity, two influential
factors are (i) that it has been clearly explained
beforehand to all pupils that collaboration and
teamwork are prerequisites for the success of any
one team, and (ii) that the game was not designed to
be highly competitive and to produce a single
winning team; rather, all teams could become
winners upon completion of their missions – which
they did, in fact. This has led them to connect
through experience the participatory, inclusive,
collaborative behavior to successful results and to
feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Another limitation of this study is the lack of
resources (a) to follow up the same group of pupils
into the next school year, in order to establish the
persistence of detected outcomes, especially in the
social and emotional domains, and (b) to compare
intervention results to a control group of similar
characteristics, taught the same music elements
without QR codes and/or without involving a game.
Augmented Reality and QR Codes for Teaching Music to Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: Educational Intervention and Evaluation
An experimental study on the feasibility and
efficiency of AR technology (QR codes) and mobile
devices as learning tools for the preschool and
Kindergarten ages is presented. The study is based
on an educational intervention designed as a
‘treasure hunt’ game, played collaboratively in
teams. Research questions investigated through
evaluation data refer to the progress the pupils made
in the cognitive, emotional and social domain.
On the basis of the evaluation results, it may be
argued that the most important outcome has been the
hearty and enthusiastic participation of all kids and
their full motivation and interest in the game and in
the technology used. Under the cover of the game,
they in fact learned new things on music and on AR
technology. They also developed new strategies on
problem solving, practiced collaborative behaviors
and offered and received help, support and
encouragement from classmates in other teams. In
all three axes evaluated (cognitive, emotional,
social), the pupils have showed measurable
improvement, the cognitive domain ‘delta’ being the
most conspicuous one. Instrumental to the success of
the intervention have been the choices of (a) the
subject of music, (b) QR codes used through mobile
devices, (c) a game with riddles, puzzles, prizes and
(d) the specific music content (‘Lilipoupoli’), an
oeuvre of high artistic and pedagogical quality ideal
for these ages.
In conclusion, results indicate that the QR codes
and the mobile devices may be efficiently employed
in preschool and Kindergarten ages as learning tools;
they show a significant potential for improving
learning outcomes, for cultivating collaboration
skills and for developing a positive attitude towards
technology as an integral part of modern education.
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Augmented Reality and QR Codes for Teaching Music to Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: Educational Intervention and Evaluation